Express Scripts released a report yesterday on the prevalence of dangerous drug combinations in long-term opioid patients from 2009-2013. The report, A Nation in Pain, reveals that nearly 60 percent of long-term opioid patients were prescribed a potentially dangerous mixture of drugs in combination with their opioid treatment during the same period. Among those taking dangerous drug mixtures last year, nearly one in three patients were on both an opiate and an anti-anxiety benzodiazepine, a combination that is the most common cause of multiple drug overdose deaths. Approximately 28 percent of opioid users were taking a muscle relaxant. Eight percent were combining an opioid, muscle relaxant and a benzodiazepine – a popular combination among pill mills known as the “Houston Cocktail.” Additionally, 27 percent were taking multiple opiate pain treatments simultaneously. Women accounted for nearly two-thirds of those patients taking potentially hazardous mixes of medications.
Read the full release from Express Scripts and access the report here.